In an inspiring post/keynote Avinash Kaushik challenges HiPPO’s to “ask people who report to you to embarrass you“.
Seems a bit weird, but the whole idea behind it is very simple : do not think you are right, or your gut feeling is right, or you know it best …
Question yourself : is your idea the good one ? Isn’t there a better one ? Is it not possible that others know it better ? have better ideas ?
This is totally comparable to software testing.
Some people think that software testing is all about showing that the software works, that it is bugfree.
There is not such thing as bugfree software, or at least there is no software that cannot be improved. Software Utopia just does not exist.
Software testing is all about discovering as much bugs or possibilities for enhancement as possible.
The same holds for everyone of us. None of us is the perfect human, which means that each and everyone of us can get better in a lot of ways.
The one and only condition for improvement, in whatever situation, is first to acknowledge that there is indeed something about us that can be enhanced, by training, by simply questioning our opinions, our decisions. And most of all : by letting others challenge us.
That’s what is all about the blogs, presentations, discussions we find nowadays on the internet : Avoid HiPPO-driven decisions but replace them by data-driven decisions.
Our gut feelings, our opinions, our experienced guesses are worhtless compared to hard data that tells us what is really going on there. Compared to tests that show without any doubt what works and what doesn’t.
This new (?) paradigm is called competing on analytics : the enterprise with the best analytics will win.
There is a joke that goes like this :
Question : How do you get a million dollar company ?
Answer : take a billion dollar company and run it on gut feeling.